I get asked all the time about what are the best BJJ books to buy. Often times it’s from new students who want something to study when they get home, or by students who don’t have a ton of time. I’ve got nearly 20 different BJJ and grappling related books. One of which is a book called Dynamic Strength by Harry Wong. It was a mislead gift explaining the in and outs of developing strength for Kung Fu from a ex girlfriend. You can see why she became an ex.
There are two standouts amongst the pile of pages that sit in my office. They both highlight two different cornerstones of training.
Jiu-Jitsu University by Saulo Riberiro with Kevin Howell
Most books fail to capture the intricacies of a technique, if they do they’re typically not plotted out very well and in most cases they don’t hit the whole spectrum of positions. Saulo’s book does a great job of giving tons of fundamental techniques from all of your standard positions. He also combines his technical knowledge with his Brazilian Jiu-jitsu philosophy. In addiiton he includes a breakdown of what it means to reach each belt, most of which I personally agree with. I think this is especially significant for newcomers. I’ve had this book since I was a 24 year old brown belt and I still reference this book as a 30 year old instructor. If you’re a beginner or even a more experienced practitioner looking for a good overall book to study. It’s hard to go wrong with Jiu-Jitsu University.
Drill To Win by Andre Galvo with Kevin Howell
This book really emphasizes the importance of drilling. Proper drilling is something I think many Brazilian Jiu-jitsu players lack. Often times they don’t know how to drill in the most efficient and effective way possible. If you watch a wrestler you’ll see them completely drenched after a drill session. Many times young BJJ practitioners with no previous grappling experience drill techniques slowly and in their entirety. Then after a few reps they default to rolling. In Andre’s book he demonstrates seemingly endless drills which combine techniques with lots of movement. He also illustrates the importance of drilling certain parts of a particular position or technique. Instead of drilling a full technique, many of the drills in the book advertise drilling broken up versions of their complete counterparts.
I personally bought this book in 2010 because I wanted to start becoming a more agile and mobile “big guy” opposed to being a smasher. I’ve always loved watching guys who were just all over the place. This book really helped me do this. Often times when I roll full speed with someone new, they’ll comment on how much I move for a big guy. Many of the drills in this book, as well as drills I’ve created for myself (which were inspired by this book), have helped make me a fast big guy.
By the way if you haven’t noticed yet, if you want to make a BJJ book. Kevin Howell is the cat to talk to.
So if you are on the market for a book and you don’t own either of these. I would suggest picking them up. They’re great for overall technical development at almost any level. They’re both incredibly dense in information and don’t have a lot of fluff. Hope that helps all my guys in the gym, or anyone reading, with questions on which books they should look into.